Early this month, Facebook announced it will change how political ads appear on the company's platforms. Anyone advertising about elections or issues would need their identity 'verified' before the messages go online, and the messages themselves would be labeled 'Political Ad' with disclosure of who paid for it. Ideally, this could make advertisements on Facebook much more transparent, though we'll start finding out as the platform began requiring US-based advertisers to get verified today. In the coming months, this will spread to ad buyers across the world.
Starting today, anyone based in the US running an electoral or issue ad will have to run through the authorization process to provide a government-issued ID and mailing address. Then Facebook confirms identity by mailing a letter with a unique access code that only the advertiser's Page admin account can use, like an old-school version of email verification. And then, of course, they'll have to disclose who paid for the ads before Facebook will put them up.
While the changes went into effect, Facebook posted a Q&A about what advertisers know about you. While the company maintains that they don't know as much about us as we feared, by default, advertisers are still targeting users based on their interests and browsing habits. At least after these changes, we know a bit more about them.